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Arenga micrantha

Bhutan Arenga

A strange-looking, multi-stemmed Arenga that grows to more than 6 m (20 ft) tall and carries elegant, large, flat, evenly pinnate leaves with brilliant white undersides. Growing up to an incredible 2000-2150 m (6500-7000 ft) above sea level, it regularly endures winter snow and HEAVY FROST in its habitat in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas, and is certainly the most cold hardy Arenga. A. micrantha was described as recently as 1988 from Tibet (would you have thought that any palm grows there?) and has now also been found to occur in Bhutan and N.E. India. It is extraordinary how this comparatively large palm could have remained undetected in an area that has been well and truly botanized for a hundred years, yet this is what has happened. Following the initial discovery of a small group of plants in N.E. India, it was found to be growing in several other locations, in some numbers, and is used by the locals for thatching and for the manufacture of brooms. A cool-growing palm, it is used to moist and mild conditions in summer, and cold, dryish conditions in winter. Rich soil and an occasional feed complete the picture of its requirements. A most exciting addition to our range! Last season's seeds were a great success and produced germination rates well over 90% with very quick-growing seedlings. A. micrantha is not available anywhere else! Please also note that we can now offer these seeds at HALF PRICE!!

(read all testimonials here)

germination comments by our visitors
For general germination instructions click here.

Also see plant cultivation comments below.

Seeds from this species ...

... are easy to germinate and need up to 6 months to sprout.
Sowed the seeds in moist coco peat on 9/14/2009. I have since maintained the seeds at between 80-98 F. The first one germinated in early January but has yet to break above the soil surface. Some of the others have swollen so I'm expecting germination soon.
Submitted on 20/02/2010 by Michael

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Seeds placed in freezer bag containing 50/50 mix soil based seed compost and Perlite that has been slightly moistened. Left in warmest part of greenhouse, where in a typical Summer temperatures would exceed 30C on a sunny day. This year just rain, and more rain, and very little sun, so temperatures at least 5C lower most days. Often they've struggled to reach 20C. Checked today; 60% germination. 5% ungerminated seed show signs of fungal growth. Time will tell if this is fatal.
Submitted on 07/08/2007 by Gary Fisher garyfisher_sigi@tiscali.co.uk

... are average to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Germinated in relatively poorly drained compost.
Submitted on 13/09/2006 by Andrew Cartwright andrew@sussexcoast.fsnet.co.uk

... are average to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I soaked the Arenga micrantha seeds 72 hours in warm (30C/86F) water, in my mini greenhouse (baggie).Then I put the seeds with peat and palmsoil mixture, and floated at a constant 30C, in mini greenhouse. The first seed germinated within two months and the last four months. 30% germination within four months (12/4). After germination the seedlings growing very slowly.
Submitted on 27/12/2006 by G‡bor FŸleki fulekig@freemail.hu

... are easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I put these seeds in a one gallon nursery pot that was 3/4 filled with regular potting soil. I then covered them with seed starter mix. After 2 1/2 mos. they are sprouting! They are on an upper shelf in a shaded greenhouse where daytime temps have reached 112 degrees F.
Submitted on 05/08/2006 by William Read weread@mac.com

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I received 11 seeds ordered from RPS and soaked them for 3 days in warm purified water. I used two 1 quart zipper bags filled with a mixture (50/50) of moist sphagnum peat and sphagnum moss. The seeds were placed in the bags on 2/25/06 and kept at 70 degrees F at night and 80 F during the day. 22C/27C. All the seeds now have 3-4 inches of root. (3/26/06) The root comes out the rounded side of the seed, so I recommend putting the flat side and the rounded side verticaly in the germination containers, what I mean is don't put the flat side or the rounded side pointed up. Mildew and mold will attack these seeds readily, so a fungicide will help.
Submitted on 27/03/2006 by Mike mjbtol@aol.com

... are not rated.
Seeds probably need to undergo cold period to germinate. Try to put them into fridge (5-8¡C) for 3 months. Then plant as usual.
Submitted on 16/01/2006 by one of our visitors

...difficult to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Seeds put in controlled conditions wet and at 26°C. 2 germinations/10 seeds. 8 seeds lost/dead
Submitted by MOTARD eric.motard@paris7.jussieu.fr

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

In Worcestershire in England they need average care and grow slow.
After several years the biggest of these plants has now reached 1ltr plant size, 12cm tall and 4 leaves. This is not the fault of the Arenga, but incorrect cultivation by staff who have assumed that it needed full sun and little water, like some other palms that are grown. The Arenga micrantha are still been grown in a sunny, hot, heated in winter, polytunnel, but now that I've rescued the few remaining plants they've doubled in size in 3 months! Amazing what fresh compost (we find a soil based compost made to our own presciption best) and regular watering (daily in hot weather; sometimes as little as once a week in cooler weather) can do for a plant, even if it prefers cooler temperatures. Even red-spider mite is less of a problem and would probably be none existant if grown in a cool shady spot. With the last 2 severe winters (-21C )killing even the most hardy palms in pots, its safer to grow them in this polytunnel than have them being forgotten during another big freeze.
Submitted on 08/08/2011 by one of our visitors

... are of high ornamental value
In Near Manchester in England they need little care and grow normal.
One thing i've noted with this plant is due to its origins high in the Himalayas, within forest canopies and heavy rainfall, is how much quicker it grows in Autumn. I have 5 seedlings in an unheated loft conversion which have started accelerating now the light levels/temperature has dropped.They like the soil medium well drained but constantly moist.My tip - take them away from direct sunlight in the summer months unless you want them to grow at a snails pace.
Submitted on 08/10/2007 by Paul M Murray www.palmsnexotics@zoomshare.com

win € 75 worth of seeds
by writing a plant cultivation comment about how to cultivate the plants of this species. Click here!

If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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